My first visit to the Kazuhiko Yamaguchi Retrospective
in Laputa Asagaya.
Advertisement outside the theatre
Entrance to the theatre. The screening room is in the 2nd floor. The atmospheric lobby is on the right in the 1st floor
Thursday: Poster for A Haunted Turkish Bathhouse
(Bakeneko Toruko furo) (1975)
A Haunted Turkish Bathhouse
was a bit like a dress rehearsal for Wolfguy
(1975), only different genre and a bit less outrageous. Nikkatsu actress Naomi Tani is the star of the first third, playing a poor wife tricked by evil husband Hideo Murota to work in a brothel. She's eventually killed by Murota and his lover, but her spirit returns to haunt them, first as a cat, and then as a white faced creature that looks like a runway cast member from a CATS musical. Boobs, violence, supernatural horror that isn't scary in the least, ultra-funky score, occasional apocalyptic sunsets, and bloody cat attacks (where the evidently bored and not-aggressive-at-all cat is being thrown through the air by the staff). It's a fun film and never boring, but the climax isn't quite as far-out as one would wish, especially when compared to the amazing Wolfguy. Consider it Yamaguchi's House-lite, Toei Porno style.
Saturday: The Neon City
(Neon kurage: Shinjuku hanadensha) (1973)
The staff apparently put the wrong poster on display by accident (would not be the first time). Or perhaps they just couldn't obtain the correct poster. This week's film was Karate Warriors
(Kozure Satsujin Ken).
Most people here are probably familiar with this solid karate actioner that is literally a mix of Lone Wolf and Cub (Kozure Okami) and The Street Fighter (Satsujin Ken) + Yojimbo of course. Chiba is a wandering karate warrior who arrives a town ruled by two competing gangs. Isao Natsuyagi co-stars as a samurai bodyguard with a cub. Passable story, some interesting ninkyo film like character relationships, and plenty of great action.
It was a near pristine print, but the slow motion action bits looked a bit strange, just like they do on the US DVD. Oh, and the Japanese print is a bit different from the US version. Some scenes are in different order (e.g. the JP version opens with the slow-mo fight and then plays the opening credits as Chiba arrived the violent town... in the US version the fight comes much later) and some of the music was probably different.
I was so happy that my gf also liked the film. A 70s karate film is about the last thing she'd normally end up seeing, by she genuinely thought it was alright. Though I'm sure she liked the previous day's visit to Disneyland better...
You probably noticed the T-shirts before. Laputa had a bunch of Sonny Chiba and Etsuko Shihomi T-shirts for sale!
These are by a company called Hard Core Chocolate, and they have quite a few nice shirts. You can also get them via their website
. The site is in Japanese, but it seems they deliver worldwide and you can pay by Paypal.
I bought myself this one!
And finally, here's the program chirashi
Of course other retrospectives were also being held at the same time.
The morning show was dedicated to actress Hiromi Nozoe. Poster for 女のつり橋 (1961)
And the massive daytime slot was for family films